Walking Skeleton
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Building A Walking Skeleton

This article talks about building a walking skeleton which is widely adopted by the Agile software development community.

Capri recently got involved with a greenhouse project to deliver a digital licensing system for Scottish Environment Protection Agency. There were few challenges such as team members were new to the agile way of working, new technology, new to cloud computing and tight timeline. Habitually team started analysing data model of CRM and building custom entity for storing data etc…….

The problem we have with traditional software development

  • Interfaces with various other systems (including legacy).
  • Teams not delivering working software
  • High risk due to dependencies
  • No early visibility of working software
  • Too many technical stories
  • No business value delivery in early sprints

These results in sprint failure and 

  • Frustration builds up
  • Velocity goes down
  • Project gets delayed
  • Project cost goes up

The simple solution to these problems is to start with building a walking skeleton

As per Alistair Cockburn a “Walking Skeleton” is a tiny implementation of the system that performs a small end-to-end function. It need not use the final architecture, but it should link together the main architectural components. The architecture and the functionality can then evolve in parallel.

walking skeleton

Building-Walking-Skeleton

  • Mini implementation of the system that performs a small end-to-end function.
  • The walking skeleton is missing the flesh of the application functionality, incrementally, over time the full functionality will be added.
  • Its like building chassis with wheels and a motor which moves and adding body later on.

Not to be confused with Spike or prototype which gets thrown away

There are many advantages of building a walking skeleton first

  • —Upfront design/framework
  • —Quicker feedback
  • —Validate assumptions
  • —Proves architecture
  • —Quicker delivery
  • —Reality check
  • Reduces risk
  • —Manages dependencies

Get in touch with us if you need any help or download our slides by clicking the following link.

building walking skeleton

Happy Coding!